With U.S. immigration law and procedure shifting and uncertain under the current administration, the Mexican government is investing more resources in understanding how this legal landscape may affect Mexican nationals. Toward that end, Elía Sosa, a counselor at the Gender Unit of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), reached out to Beth Lyon, clinical professor of law and founder of Cornell’s Farmworker’s Legal Assistance Clinic. From June 14–16, Lyon met with SRE officials in Mexico City to provide training and discuss next steps.
Lyon is a national authority on the laws and policies affecting immigrant workers. She has written extensively on domestic and international immigrant and farm worker rights, and generally about the human rights of the poor. The Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic she founded at Cornell is one of the first and only law clinics in America to serve rural immigrant communities.
“The Mexican government recognizes that the dramatic changes the Trump Administration is making (and attempting to make) in U.S. Immigration law and procedure have profoundly negative implications for Mexican nationals in this country,” she says.
Around fifteen SRE officials attended Lyon’s full-day training session on U.S. immigration law and access to justice. The discussion continued in meetings over the next two days. “The SRE officials were concerned about the situation of Mexican migrants living and working in the United States,” she notes. “Their goal was to learn about U.S. Immigration remedies and racial profiling, and to discuss potential areas of collaboration between the Mexican government and U.S. universities to better support their nationals living here.“This is an office that has always set an example for consular protection, and they are taking a pragmatic and informed approach to enhancing their protection work. We had a very productive training session and discussions.”
Lyon adds, “My hope is to create an ongoing relationship between Cornell Law School and the Mexican Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, to better support Mexican families living and working in the United States.”